Tempo Run: A sustained effort in the range of a persons lactate threshold which serves to increase the speed a runner can maintain for prolonged periods of time.
My legs seem to be a bit confused lately. After last weeks messy tempo run, I really wanted to nail down a consistent tempo this week. I haven't been doing many of these runs lately and have instead been opting for hard effort fartlek speed sessions. While I think that there isn't a specific number one needs to hit for their tempo, I do think that it should be a challenging (but not a race paced) effort where the runner aims for fairly consistent splits while running controlled.
A tempo run:
- shouldn't be an all out balls-to-the-walls run
- shouldn't leave the runner feeling completely spent and out of gas upon completion
- should help a runner to increase lactate threshold and gain speed
- should help a runner learn consistency in pace and how to control speed
- should teach a runner to learn to adapt
Gave my ever-loved tempo run another go yesterday where again I just couldn't get into my groove for the first mile. Maybe it was because I was running into a strong head wind coming off of the lake or the fact that my legs still were working out some kinks that they had left over from Monday, either way the entire first mile I felt like I was pressing a lot harder then a 6:50 pace and wasn't sure I'd be able to finish the workout.
This workout turned out to be a mess.
Once I turned out of the wind in mile two, my blood begun to churn heat through my body that left me feeling like I was really cooking with fire. The pace suddenly became easier and I felt the right amount of discomfort for the remaining four miles and begun to settle into my pace. My body and mind felt in control of this tempo where I was almost positive that those last four miles were 6:40's even though I didn't check my watch once during the workout. Then I plugged the good ole garmin into my computer a few hours later and felt confused.
How the heck did a 6:29 mile sneak in there?
Shouldn't this have felt a bit more trying?
Am I getting faster or am I just pushing too hard?
For me speed workouts aren't about pressing myself until exhaustion. There is little to no benefit for me to hammer it out as fast as I can for any type of workout. As I was telling Nicole last week, I just cannot recover from those types of workouts and I think this a good way to burn myself out. Trying to squeeze every ounce of speed from my legs in every workout is plain crazy, and making the mistake of running medium-hard all of the time will not produce the maximum outcome I'm looking for from my training this time around. Believe me, I've been there and learned this the hard way on several different occasions.
But what happens when the months of hard work all begin to slowly show signs of improvement and your old norm just doesn't cut it like it used to?
Do you hold back?
Do you press harder?
Do you just ignore the garmin and run solely based on feel?
Even though I'm training intuitively this time around, I'm still trying to learn consistency and control over my paces so that I don't peak too early, burn out, or run myself into the ground causing some crazy unwanted injury. I do believe that I have somehow managed to pick up some speed in the past few months and credit most of that to rest, the maniac circuits I've been doing at the gym (some of which you can find under this tab), and listening to my body. But I'm still 3 weeks out from my 8k, 11 weeks from my 1/2 marathon, and 12 weeks from my 10 miler...meaning that there is still a long road ahead where slow progression needs to be made.
I think that I just need to incorporate a few more tempos in my training and reconsider my goal pace to get the maximum benefit from this workout, seems like the legs are a bit more eager to move then I thought they would be at this point in time.
Tempo runs, how do you determine your pacing?